Lycee Francais versus other London private schools

(22 Posts)
Emilie1 Mon 08-Jun-15 23:01:20

Hi everyone,

I was wondering how the Lycée Francais in London fared compared to other private schools in terms of success rates at Oxbridge.

I look forward to receiving your comments,


OP’s posts: |
UptheChimney Fri 12-Jun-15 11:44:15

This would be better on the Secondary Education board. At a university level, I for one, rarely look at the school, unless a candidate has interviewed badly.

spinoa Fri 12-Jun-15 13:21:06

Success rates at Oxbridge (from private schools) tend to reflect the ability of the students, and selection of the students, rather than anything about the school. Any given student has a pretty similar chance of getting into Oxbridge from a wide variety of schools, both private and state. Schools like Westminster get a lot into Oxbridge primarily because they were amongst the most selective schools to get into, so had already selected lots of potential Oxbridge candidates right from the outset.

Bonsoir Mon 15-Jun-15 12:13:36

The Lycée has begun to address what it perceives to be its poor record, relative to pupils' abilities, in getting pupils to Oxbridge. The reason is simple: the French bac (and the Lycée has not, historically, prepared its pupils for the Option Internationale) is a less appropriate preparation for UK university courses than A-levels are, for obvious reasons.

Needmoresleep Mon 15-Jun-15 13:44:47

I am not sure if any of the Lycees pupils DD has know have had Oxbridge in their sights.

1. Some want to study in France (unsurprisingly) or find that for some subjects like medicine, it is easier to get a place in France.
2. The majority of the (small) sample we know are very international and so are aiming for top US or Canadian Universities. (Canada seems to be a strong option for those who have spend less time in Anglophone countries.) Some have gone to absolute top US schools, including some twinned programmes with French Universities.
3. Because of the differences in school year plus the ability for bright children to skip a year, it is possible to finish school much earlier than an English child would. In which case staying in London for a three year undergraduate degree becomes an attractive option, and Universities such as Imperial, UCL and LSE all seem happy to accept younger students. (And culturally is more usual for French students to stay at home anyway?)
4. A handful, presumably often those thinking about Oxbridge, will switch to schools like Westminster, SPS & SPGS, and Kings for sixth form each year.

Add to this that the Lycee is not selective, whilst many of London privates are very selective, and comparisons are difficult/pointless.

Bonsoir Mon 15-Jun-15 14:36:53

Needmoresleep - your point 4 is the crucial one and DC switch out of the Lycee at 11/13 for London day schools if their families (often binational Franco-British ones) have Oxbridge ambitions.

Needmoresleep Mon 15-Jun-15 16:14:06

Bonsoir, yes and no. The Lycee is much cheaper which influences some, as well as a view held by others, that anything French, can be assumed to be better than anything English. There are exceptions obviously, and in education this might include Westminster or SPS being first choice with the Lycee as a fall back. Or now perhaps Latymer as well, not least because Europeans seem more comfortable with co-ed.

Even in the private sector there appear to be big differences between English schools and the Lycee. I have not heard complaints about the teaching, which seems to be well regarded. The issues seem to be the structured syllabus with a heavy workload, the odd school hours, the lack of sport in school, and the fact that it offers nothing like the same range of EC that is found in expensive private schools. That said the students we know have done really well, as well as their peers elsewhere.

One observation is that very few seem to be "proper" French with two French parents. In fact we knew one French family who eventually opted for the British system in part because having decided they were in London for the duration, wanted a school with a more settled population. Many appear to be international with Francophone links and indeed we once met a family who were third generation Lycee CDG, origionally from Lebanon rather than France. I assume it is as international an environment as you would find anywhere.

I used to pass the Lycee regularly. The students look very cool, though one marked difference is the emphasis English Schools put on behaviour whilst in school uniform. No school uniform and the Gauloises are lit as soon as you get out of school.


Bonsoir Mon 15-Jun-15 16:38:49

The issues seem to be the structured syllabus with a heavy workload, the odd school hours, the lack of sport in school, and the fact that it offers nothing like the same range of EC that is found in expensive private schools

These "issues" are identical to the ones in any French collège-lycée: they are there by (French) national design.

LillianGish Mon 15-Jun-15 16:40:45

I'm not sure how the Lycée can be a fallback option - it may not be selective, but it is incredibly difficult to get a place. A new school is about to open in Wembley and all new applicants who are not in the feeder primaries will be directed there as I understand it (still with no guarantee of a place). Speaking from experience it is not remotely comparable to other private schools in London - it's a place to go if you want a French education and if that's the case I'm not sure Oxford and Cambridge would be top of your list anyway. Fees maybe low, but class sizes are not and the number of classes crammed into that tiny space has to be seen to be believed - that's one of the reasons the school day is so long, they don't have enough space to teach everyone at the same time so not only is there v little in the way of EC at the school, there is hardly any time to organise anything out of school either.

Bonsoir Mon 15-Jun-15 16:51:49

Some classes are going to be closed at the Lycée when Wembley opens in order to relieve space pressure. It will be very interesting to see how it works out, with two new French schools opening in London in September 2015 and more spaces and competition. So far all the Paris DC I know who have applied to Ecole Jeannine Manuel have got in easily - EJM seems to have recruited quite actively. The new Wembley school looks very promising - shame about the location!

LillianGish Mon 15-Jun-15 16:57:54

Wembley sounds great (apart from the location!) several friends considered switching from from South Ken. None has done so in the end - mainly because it is considerably more expensive.

Bonsoir Mon 15-Jun-15 17:00:43

Yes, I think if your DC are already safely at school in South Ken for not much £££ the incentive to move to Wembley for a lot more £££ is going to be quite low!

LillianGish Mon 15-Jun-15 17:38:04

So glad to be out of there and safely ensconced in Massillon - thanks so much again for that (not sure dd would agree - I think she'd focus on the comment down thread about all the kids at the Lycée looking so cool!)

Bonsoir Mon 15-Jun-15 17:42:35

Glad it worked out for you!

jeanne16 Mon 15-Jun-15 17:50:22

Just one point, the Lycée has the reputation of ruthlessly turfing out pupils who are not viewed as up to scratch. I know of quite a few girls whose confidence and self-esteem was severely damaged and other secondaries have to pick up the pieces.

LillianGish Mon 15-Jun-15 18:14:17

My DH used to say the school motto should be Fit in or F* Off (though that could probably be the motto of many French schools!)

Bonsoir Mon 15-Jun-15 18:31:06

"the Lycée has the reputation of ruthlessly turfing out pupils who are not viewed as up to scratch"

Selection à la française. Not pretty.

Emilie1 Sun 05-Jul-15 21:21:22

Hi Everyone,

Thank you so much for that very useful information. After quite a lot of research, pretty much all what is said above corroborates what I found out whilst researching this subject.

Kind regards,


OP’s posts: |
user1494882341 Thu 10-May-18 08:15:46

I am considering putting my daughter into French education. We are a French dad and Spanish mum and we have a place at l'ecole des petits. THe next step given our location would be the Lycee.

Emilie - I was curious to understand what you eneded up doing. If you picked the Lycee, are you happy about it??

Does anyone have any views on whether the class size has reduced since the Wemble and EJM opening?

user1499173618 Thu 17-May-18 09:52:26

The class size in French state or private “under contract with the state” schools is determined by state regulation. It is not a matter for schools to decide individually.

user1494882341 Thu 17-May-18 18:23:56

Thank you!! Does anyone have any thoughts on how are kids raised at the lycee? I heard from someone they are a bit out of control (smoking, maybe some light drugs, not very respectful, etc) but then when I read blogs or talk to other people I don't see any of that. I am not too concerned about the tough approach of teaching but I am more concerned whether pupils behave well and that they are not very troublesome teenagers. Any views appreciated!!!

user1499173618 Thu 17-May-18 18:30:19

I was talking to someone who had had children at the Lycée Charles de Gaulle only yesterday. Her eldest son, but not her other two sons, switched to Westminster for Sixth Form and she compared the behavior of pupils at Westminster VERY favorably with behavior at CDG. Her eldest son hated CDG, loved Westminster and went to Oxford, whereas the second son was quite happy at CDG and went on to university in the US. She says her second son is less disciplined than her first, and that that is a combination of nature plus the nurture that came with their preferred style of school.

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